The Early History of Glastonbury Abbey: A Hypothesis Regarding the 'British Charter"
Grimmer, MR (2003) The Early History of Glastonbury Abbey: A Hypothesis Regarding the 'British Charter". Parergon: bulletin of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 20 (2). pp. 1-20.
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The so-called 'British charter' of Glastonbury Abbey in Somerset, contained in
William of Malmesbury's De antiquitate Glastonte ecclesieof c.I 129, records a
grant made in AD 601 by an unnamed king of British Dumnonia of land at
'/neswitrin'. As William regarded this to be the British Celtic name for
Glastonbury, the charter has been used to proclaim a pre-Saxon foundation for
the Abbey. When the characteristics of the charter are considered, in particular
the use of a scribal attestation, it appears however that it is West Saxon in form
and should be dated to the later seventh century when Somerset was within West
Saxon control. The charter cannot therefore substantiate the Abbey's existence
before thistime, though it does imply somelevel of cooperation between the West
Saxon Church and the kingdom of Dumnonia.
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